The Righter Report

Are we our brother’s keeper?

Jesus once told the story of the Sheep and the Goats:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” – Jesus, Matthew 25:31-46

Will you be your brother’s keeper? Will you help children like this who have been abandoned with no hope? Will you be able to sleep at night after seeing and reading this if you do nothing?

Here’s how to help: Contact Save the Children. Do your part and be your brother’s keeper.

The Lord will honor and remember your charity. God bless you.

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November 20, 2009 Posted by | Human Interest | Leave a comment

Great American Comebacks!

When in England at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of ’empire building’ by George Bush.

He answered by saying, “Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.”

It became very quiet in the room.

********************

Then there was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American.

During a break one of the French engineers came back into the room saying “Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intend to do, bomb them?”

A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: “Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?”

Once again, dead silence.

********************

A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, ‘whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English.’ He then asked, ‘Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?’

Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied ‘Maybe it’s because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn’t have to speak German.’

Ooh-Rah!

November 3, 2007 Posted by | America | Leave a comment

The Sheep, the Wolf, and the Sheepdog

This letter was written by Charles Grennel and his comrades, veterans of the Global War On Terror. Grennel is an Army Reservist who spent two years in Iraq and was a principal in putting together the first Iraq elections in January 2005.

They wrote it to Jill Edwards, student at the University of Washington, who did not want to honor Medal of Honor winner USMC Colonel Greg Boyington.

Ms. Edwards, along with various other students and faculty, apparently are of the opinion that those who serve in the U.S. armed services are not good role models.

To: Jill Edwards, Student, University of Washington

Miss Edwards,

I read of your student activity regarding the proposed memorial to Colonel Greg Boyington, USMC and a Medal of Honor winner. I suspect you will receive many angry emails from conservative people like me.

You may be too young to appreciate fully the sacrifices of generations of servicemen and servicewomen on whose shoulders you and your fellow students stand. I forgive you for the untutored ways of youth and your naivety. It may be that you are simply a sheep. There’s no dishonor in being a sheep, as long as you know and accept what you are.

William J. Bennett, in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997 said, “Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident. We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people, not capable of hurting each other except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.”

Then there are the wolves who feed on the sheep without mercy. Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of horrific, evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it isn’t so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

Then there are sheepdogs, and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf. If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the unchartered path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

We know that the sheep live in denial; that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kid’s schools. But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid’s school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep’s only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard. So they choose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog that intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours. Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land.

They would prefer that he didn’t tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues, holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go B-a-a-a. Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.

The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough high school students, and under ordinary circumstances would not have had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack, however, and when SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them.

This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door. Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel?

Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be.

Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter. He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed, right along with the young ones.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day.

After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep – that is, most citizens in America, said, “Thank God I wasn’t on one of those planes.” The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, “Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference.” You want to be able to make a difference. There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one: And that is that he is able to survive and thrive in a hostile environment that would destroy 98 percent of the population.

Research was conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law-enforcement officers. The vast majority said they specifically targeted victims by body language: Slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.

Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose which one they want to be, and I’m proud to say that more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.

Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall, was the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When they learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as weapons to crash into occupied buildings, Todd and the other passengers confronted the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the passengers – athletes, business people and parents – from sheep to sheepdogs, and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown number of lives on the ground.

Edmund Burke said “There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men.” Here is the point I want to emphasize, especially to the thousands of police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are wolves. They don’t have a choice.

But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision. If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you.

If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior’s path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at your door.

This business of being a sheep or a sheepdog is not a yes-no distinction. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. On one end is the head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other. Most of us live somewhere in between.

Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the warriors started taking their job more seriously. It’s OK to be a sheep, but do not kick the sheepdog. Indeed, the sheepdog may just run a little harder, strive to protect a little better and be fully prepared to pay an ultimate price in battle and spirit with the sheep moving from “b-a-a-a” to “thanks.”

We do not call for gifts or freedoms beyond our lot. We just need a small pat on the head, a smile and a thank you to fill the emotional tank which is drained protecting the sheep. And, when our number is called by The Almighty, and day retreats into night, a small prayer before the heavens just may be in order to say thanks for letting you continue to be a sheep. And be grateful for the thousands, even the millions, of American sheepdogs who permit you the freedom to express even bad ideas.

– Righter Report

October 31, 2007 Posted by | Opinion | Leave a comment

Answering the New Radical Attacks on Jesus’ Resurrection

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Recommended Reading

This Companion Volume is the perfect supplement to Answering the New Radical Attacks on Jesus’ Resurrection. In addition to printable PDF study questions, the DVD provides clips from the series presenting Lee Strobel’s own story of how as an atheist, he investigated two foundational questions of Christianity: Did Jesus really claim to be God? And did Jesus really rise from the dead? He also presents five historical facts proving the resurrection and responds to the new explanations offered today that supposedly refute Jesus’ resurrection. This tool is great for Sunday School teachers, parents or anyone else wanting to lead a group study into the proof for the resurrection of Jesus.

Available at JohnAnkerberg.org

October 14, 2007 Posted by | Theology Articles | Leave a comment

Did Jesus Claim To Be God?

For Sunday, September 9, 2007

Among the religious leaders who have attained a large following throughout history, Jesus Christ is unique in the fact that He alone claimed to be God in human flesh. A common misconception is that some or many of the leaders of the world’s religions made similar claims, but this is simply not the case.

Buddha did not claim to be God; Moses never said that he was Yahweh; Mohammed did not identify himself to be Ahura Mazda. Yet Jesus, the carpenter from Nazareth, said that he who has seen him (Jesus) has seen the Father (John 14:9).

The claims of Christ are many and varied. He said that He existed before Abraham (John 8:58), and that He was equal with the Father (John 14:9).

The New Testament equated Jesus as the creator of the universe (John 1:3), and that He is the one who holds everything together (Colossians 1:17). The apostle Paul says that God was manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16, KJV), and John the evangelist says that “the Word was God” (John 1:1). The united testimony of Jesus and the writers of the New Testament is that He was more than mere man; He was God.

Not only did His friends notice that He claimed to be God, but so did His enemies as well. There may be some doubt today among the skeptics who refuse to examine the evidence, but there was no doubt on the part of the Jewish authorities.

When Jesus asked them why they wanted to stone Him, they replied, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God” (John 10:33, NASB).

This fact separates Jesus from the other religious figures. In the major religions of the world, the teachings — not the teacher — are all-important.

Confucianism is a set of teachings; Confucius is not important. Islam is the revelation of Allah, with Mohammed being the prophet, and Buddhism emphasizes the principles of the Buddha and not Buddha himself. This is especially true of Hinduism, where there is no historic founder. However, at the center of Christianity is the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not just claim to be teaching mankind the truth; He claimed that He was the truth (John 14:6).

What Jesus taught is not the important aspect of Christianity, but what is important is who Jesus was. Was He the Son of God? Is He the only way a person can reach God? This was the claim He made for Himself.

Suppose this very night the President of the United States appeared on all the major networks and proclaimed that “I am God Almighty. I have the power to forgive sin. I have the authority to raise my life back from the dead.”

He would be quickly and quietly shut off the air, led away, and replaced by the Vice-President. Anybody who would dare make such claims would have to be either out of his mind or a liar, unless he was God.

This is exactly the case with Jesus. He clearly claimed all these things and more. If He is God, as He claimed, we must believe in Him, and if He is not, then we should have nothing to do with Him. Jesus is either Lord of all or not Lord at all.

Yes, Jesus claimed to be God. Why should anyone believe it? After all, merely claiming to be something does not make it true. Where’s the evidence that Jesus is God?

The Bible gives various reasons, including miracles and fulfilled prophecy, that are intended to convince us that Jesus is the one whom He said He was (John 20:30, 31). The main reason, or the sign which Jesus Himself said would demonstrate that He was the Son of God, was His resurrection from the dead.

When asked for a sign from the religious leaders, Jesus replied, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40, RSV).

In another place He said, when asked for a sign, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up . . . but he spake of the temple of his body” (John 2:19, 21, KJV). The ability to raise His life back from the dead was the sign that separates Him not only from all other religious leaders, but also from anyone else who has ever lived.

Anyone wishing to refute the case for Christianity must explain away the story of the resurrection. Therefore, according to the Bible, Jesus proves to be the Son of God by coming back from the dead (Romans 1:4). The evidence is overwhelming that Jesus did rise from the grave, and it is this fact that proves Jesus to be God.

This is an excerpt from the book, “Answers to Tough Questions,” by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart.

September 8, 2007 Posted by | Theology | Leave a comment

Is the New Testament Anti-Semitic?

First, from the Old Testament:

In the most sacred work of Judaism, the Torah, we find numerous pronunciations by God and Moses referring to the Israelites as being “stiff-necked” and “rebellious.”

The Lord and Moses were not alone. Isaiah Chapter 1 likens the Israelites to “Sodomites” and a “brood of evildoers,” whose “hands are full of blood.” Jeremiah Chapter 2 refers to them as “a wild donkey in heat.” Other prophets call them “adulteresses” and liken their behavior to prostitutes. So vivid were the descriptions of the abominations of the Israelites that the Bible records God himself bringing judgment upon judgment upon them, so that even their children were dashed against the rocks. But do you ever hear of anyone calling the Old Testament authors “anti-Semitic”? Never, and the reason why was because those issues were clearly understood to be intra-Jewish tensions written about by the Jews themselves.

Fast-forward to the New Testament:

The New Testament should be viewed in the same light. Jesus was a Jew. His disciples were all Jews, and the majority of the New Testament authors were also Jewish. Did they really hate their own race of people, or can it reasonably be said that, like the Old Testament, the tensions in the New Testament are just simply more of the same intra-Jewish rivalries like we saw before? I think the evidence is clearly with the latter.

Many cite the Gospel of John specifically as being anti-Semitic. Yet when the term “Jews” is used in a pejorative sense in John’s Gospel it is never directed toward the general populace, but towards the corrupt scribes, God-blasphemers, and ungodly Pharisees instead. In fact, contrary to being anti-Semitic, The Gospel of John presents the Israelites in a very positive light. From John Chapter 1 we read: “When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, ‘Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.’”

No doubt there have been many so-called Christians and gentiles through the ages who have engaged in horrendous acts against the Jewish people. And vice versa, if one starts with the Book of Acts and the early persecution of Christians in Jerusalem. Such grievous acts against both Jews and Christians are nevertheless totally contrary to the teachings of the Bible and Jesus Christ. In both Testaments God instructed his people to “love your neighbor.” Jesus went further and said to “love your enemies.” For those who wish to say the Bible, and specifically the New Testament, encourages such things as anti-Semitism and slavery, I ask, what part of “love your neighbor as you love yourself” seems ambiguous?

Today, in mainstream Christian congregations, it is as much a sin to engage in anti-Semitism as it is to hate one’s own brother. Perhaps more so, since in the Torah God promised to Abraham and his descendants that he would “bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you.” Many Christians, this writer included, support the State of Israel and the Jewish people. In addition, there are numerous Christian congregations such as The Cornerstone Church in San Antonio (John Hagee Ministries) who regularly meet with Jewish leaders and believers of Judaism in the spirit of brotherhood, and who send aid to the nation of Israel.

The Bible says the nation of Israel will never again be cut off from the face of the earth. The Jewish people are here for good, and anyone who wishes to fight against or disparage them is fighting against God himself. As the Apostle Paul noted, it’s time to put away childish things. Ignorance can breed hatred, contempt and divisions. Let us live in the knowledge and peace of God and love our brethren, or give up any claims to being the children of God that we might otherwise believe for ourselves.

God bless.

August 11, 2007 Posted by | Theology | Leave a comment